Governor Pawlenty Signs
Higher Education Bill
Contact: Sandy Connolly, Director of Communications
Governor Tim Pawlenty this week signed legislation that provides $3.16 billion in state funding to higher education institutions, students and related programs for the two years beginning July 1, 2007. A 14.9 percent funding increase for the University of Minnesota and a 12.7 percent increase for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system over the current two-year budget cycle are expected to mitigate tuition increases at public colleges and provide new dollars for strategic initiatives.
The bill also included $10.8 million for a new initiative proposed by the Governor to award scholarships to low- and middle-income high school students who complete a set of college-preparatory courses. Students who successfully complete advanced courses such as calculus, physics and courses for which they can earn college credit including Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Postsecondary Enrollment Options can earn $1,200 to be used at a public or private college in Minnesota.
"The ACHIEVE program will reward students with college scholarships for taking challenging classes in high school," Susan Heegaard, director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, said. "We have high expectations for all Minnesota students and ACHIEVE will challenge high school students and provide them with additional incentives."
- The University of Minnesota will receive $1.39 billion, a $180 million increase over the current two year budget cycle. In addition to holding down tuition, the University is expected to invest in its technology infrastructure, competitive compensation for faculty and build its health, science and engineering research capacity.
- The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system will receive $1.36 billion, a $153 million increase over the current two year budget cycle. In addition to holding down tuition, the system will invest in the development of science, technology, engineering, health care and mathematics programs, create a center of excellence in the biosciences, and reach more students from groups traditionally underrepresented.
- The legislature also passed Governor Pawlenty's pay-for-performance proposal, making the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities eligible for bonus funding based on measurable outcomes. Each will receive approximately $12 million after demonstrating that they have achieved three of five strategic goals.
- Goals for the University of Minnesota include increasing grants and scholarships for low- and middle-income students, increasing research and development expenditures, increasing the number of degrees awarded in science and technology, and research and activity beneficial to business and industry.
- Goals for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities include increasing enrollment in science and technology courses, increasing enrollment in Centers of Excellence programs, increasing the number of students trained in the use of electronic medical record technology and increasing the number of students taking online courses.
Other key provisions of the Higher Education bill include:
- $12 million for a GI Bill for Minnesota veterans who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001. The Minnesota GI Bill provides up to $1,000 per academic term to veterans and the dependents of deceased and disabled veterans, while building on existing state and federal benefit programs for military personnel.
- The University of Minnesota and Mayo Foundation partnership will receive $25 million over the next two years, with an ongoing appropriation of $8 million per year thereafter. The partnership is an ongoing research collaboration focusing on biotechnology and medical genomics.
- The State Grant program, a need-based program to help students pay for college attendance, will receive an increase of $2.2 million.
- Postsecondary Child Care Grants will receive an additional $2.5 million to help low-income students pay child care expenses while they are enrolled in college.
- The MINITEX Interlibrary Loan and Databases will receive an increase of $2.5 million to respond to growing demand for shared library resources across the state.
- The Learning Network of Minnesota will receive an increase of $1.15 million for the biennium to help cover costs associated with growth in distance education, network conversion and maintaining and improving bandwidth.
The overall increase in state appropriations for higher education from the current biennium to the two-year period beginning July 1 is 14.3 percent.
"Minnesota relies on its colleges and universities to help the state and its citizens compete internationally," Heegaard said. "They must be strong and strategic and prepare students to succeed in college."